Today, March 6, dozens of “friend-of-the-court” briefs were filed to the U.S. Supreme Court, making the case that the Justices should rule in favor of the freedom to marry and end marriage discrimination, including in Georgia, one of 13 states where a marriage ban remains in effect. Continue reading
A powerful Georgia Republican attempted to address the concerns of LGBT activists and other critics of an anti-gay religious bill, but he was smacked down by his GOP colleagues on Thursday during a hearing at the State Capitol. Instead, state Sen. Josh McKoon’s controversial “religious freedom” bill was tabled by his own Judiciary Committee after an hour-long hearing. A frustrated McKoon said after the hearing that the amendment from Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert was a “poorly worded, bad addition” to his bill. Read the full story on Project Q Atlanta.
“On behalf of the board and staff of Georgia Equality, I would like to congratulate Rep. Karla Drenner for her successful efforts to build historic levels of bi-partisan support for nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender state employees. Having the unwavering support of the House Democratic Caucus and unprecedented levels of support from the Republican Caucus are a clear indication that basic fairness is a value that all Georgians can support.” Jeff Graham, Executive Director
Law to Prohibit Discrimination of State Employees
Safeguard to Protect Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Atlanta – In a bipartisan attempt to safeguard against discriminatory practices in state government, a new proposed law in the General Assembly will prohibit discrimination of state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
State Representative Karla Drenner (D-85) and Wendell Willard (R-51) have submitted legislation – Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA) – that will provide clear instructions to agencies, supervisors, and employees to prevent discrimination in public employment and ensure proper treatment of all employees and prevent litigation and unnecessary expenditures defending against discriminatory practices.
The Bill has bipartisan support, with a total of 77 co-sponsors, including 17 Republicans and one Independent.
“Now is the time for the State of Georgia to send a clear message that we will not discriminate against any employee in regard to their sexual orientation and gender identity. We should treat everyone equally and value our diversity,” said Drenner.
FEPA does not address private employment in Georgia.
“I believe all individuals should be judged by their abilities and not by their sexual orientation,” said Willard.
FEPA would impact state colleges and universities, ensuring that the State University System is competitive with other major research institutions, such as Emory, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This will help us retain and attract the best and the brightest, not just from Georgia and across the United States, but throughout the world,” said Drenner.
As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Willard noted that FEPA will bring the State of Georgia employment policies in line with over 200 Georgia companies, such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Cox Enterprises, UPS, and SunTrust Banks.
Fifty-eight cities and counties in Georgia have similar policies for county and municipal employees.
Twenty-five other states and the District of Columbia currently have FEPA laws in place.
Late Thursday, January 29, U.S. District Court Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. released an order in Lambda Legal’s case seeking the freedom to marry in Georgia, Inniss v. Aderhold. In the order, Judge Duffey granted, in part, a motion to stay the proceedings in the case. But he also certified an earlier order in the case – his January 8 order denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case – for immediate appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Continue reading
Thursday, February 12
9am to noon
Talk to your lawmakers in person about issues that affect LGBT Georgians, including the Fair Employment Practices Act and harmful “Religious Freedom” legislation.